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The Normative Claim of Law

By: Stefano Bertea
Media of The Normative Claim of Law
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Published: 06-10-2009
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 316
ISBN: 9781841139678
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Law and Practical Reason
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £85.00
Online price : £59.50
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Loren Epson

About The Normative Claim of Law

This book focuses on a specific component of the normative dimension of law, namely, the normative claim of law. By 'normative claim' we mean the claim that inherent in the law is an ability to guide action by generating practical reasons having a special status. The thesis that law lays the normative claim has become a subject of controversy: it has its defenders, as well as many scholars of different orientations who have acknowledged the normative claim of law without making a point of defending it head-on. It has also come under attack from other contemporary legal theorists, and around the normative claim a lively debate has sprung up. This debate makes up the main subject of this book, which is in essence an attempt to account for the normative claim and see how its recognition moulds our understanding of the law itself. This involves (a) specifying the exact content, boundaries, quality, and essential traits of the normative claim, (b) explaining how the law can make a claim so specified, and (c) justifying why this should happen in the first place. The argument is set out in two stages, corresponding to the two parts in which the book is divided. In the first part, the author introduces and discusses the meaning, status, and fundamental traits of the normative claim of law; in the second he explores some foundational questions and determines the grounds of the normative claim of law by framing an account that elaborates on some contemporary discussions of Kant's conception of humanity as the source of the normativity of practical reason.

Table Of Contents

Part I: Essential Features
Chapter 1: Meaning and Status
Chapter 2: Generality and Moral Nature
Chapter 3: Content-Dependence and Discursive Character
Part II: Ground
Chapter 4: Why Grounds are Needed
Chapter 5: The Sources of the Normativity of Practical Reason
Chapter 6: The Ground of the Normative Claim and Normativity of Law

Appendix: The Modified Kantian Account and Kant's Philosophy of Law


“Bertea's arguments are advanced with skill, imagination and vigour, making the book very readable indeed. Moreover, the author's close engagement with the theme is apparent and compelling to the reader – a refreshing change from the dispassionate tone sometimes apparent in legal research.

…Bertea's important work is interesting, engaging and provocative. It hints at important questions that have been overlooked and it forces the reader to challenge some perhaps deeply embedded beliefs [and] these characteristics make it a worthwhile and moreover enjoyable read for anyone interested in normativity and its relations to law.

” –  Bebhinn Donnelly-Lazarov, Jurisprudence, Volume 4, Issue 2

“Bertea's level of thought organization is at the highest level: he makes explicit claims and offers explicit reasons to support them. Each chapter of his book has its main topic and argument introduced, then analyzed and, finally, summarized. Because of this, the reader can much more easily keep track of Bertea's thoughts. This is one of the most important qualities of the book.
The Normative Claim of Law also has important practical implication, besides its structural quality. The discussion carried out in the book supports the conclusion that the traditional schools of legal thought have not provided a comprehensive theory of the normative claim of law.” –  Marin Keršiæ, Archiv für Rechts-und Sozialphilosophie, 98/2

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